The Tweed Ring in New York - Essay Sample

Published: 2021-08-17 09:21:36
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University of California, Santa Barbara
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William Marcy Tweed begun as a New York city volunteer firearm; however, he managed to become one of the known politicians. In the year 1853, Tweed was elected to the United State House of Representatives. He worked his way and was elected to the New York state in 1867 after working as the head of Tummy hall, a central organization of the Democratic Party in New York, the position he took in 1858. This position made him an influential person within the city, and as a result, he was able to gather some influential individuals that controlled finances in New York City. The bigwigs around him were in control of the entire city as they involved in embezzling and bribing to siphon huge amount of public funds into their own pockets. Tweed and his group dispensed jobs and contracts in return for political support and bribe. The resources that were siphoned from the city budget was not easy to be tabulated. However, it is estimated that the amount was not less than $40 and may have been as $250 million (Kens, 2009).The inner circle of Tweed controlled major companies in the city and would allocate themselves a huge amount of money for the services they did not offer to the city, and overbilled for the work they did. Also, companies that were under city contracts used to substandard work that would require repair in a short period, which would then be done by other companies controlled that Tweed. Furthermore, Tweed had a large share in the New York transportation system and frustrated the construction of subway system from being effective for many years. However, after so many years of corrupt practices, the tide started to turn against Tweed. The individuals that played a crucial role in the downfall Tweed and his colonies came from New York Times and Harpers Weekly. The two influential newspapers exposed Tweed and his activities something that led to his arrests (Kens, 2009).

The Credit Mobilier Scandal

The Credit Mobile scandal started when the government that was to provide financial support authorized Union Pacific Railroad to build a transcontinental railroad. However, senior management of the firm created the plan to make an instant profit from its construction fraud. They decided to buy a bankrupt loaning organization in 1864 and retitled it Credit Mobilier which accepted stock and bonds from UP at face value; however, they sold them to investors at rates below par (Ambrose, 2001).

The scandal came to public attention in 1872, but it is believed to have been taking place since 1867. The scandal took part in two phases. The first part of the scandal was $9 million in cut-rate stock which was given to influential politician in Washington. Second, Union Pacific charged the railroad for higher rates than usual. The board of directors of Credit Mobilier made approximately $23 million in profits and the Pacific Union stock rose up to 750 percent by the time the railroad was completed in 1869 (Ambrose, 2001).

Various contracts were made between the Credit Mobilier and Union Pacific to construct the Railway at higher rates, and this led to increased profit that Credit Mobilier received. The senior management of Union Pacific evaded rules which required them to get full payment for stock dispensed at par, through paying CM in from of bank checks for construction agreements, that the CB used in purchasing Union Pacific stock at par. When the scandal broke out the 1872 election, it was evident that key political figure had received benefits (Ambrose, 2001). Black Friday

When President Ulysses Grant took assumed the presidency in 1869, the US economy was in a crisis. The civil war has made the federal debt to increase, and the US credit was perilous. To save the economy, Grant signed a law which saw that the federal government to pay holders of US bonds in gold. As a result, the gold market became active, and it was this period that became known. This was due to an attempt by Jay Gould, and James Fisk who tried to corn the gold market. They sought to convince the president to stop treasury secretary from freeing weekly gold from the treasury department so that the gold price could go up since at this a particular period; it was trading at $130 (Brands, 2012). The first step they undertook was to instill someone known to them to easily provide information the moment the government wanted to sell gold. A such, they managed to lobby for the appointment of Butterfield who acted as the assistant treasurer. Also, they tried to bribe influential figures such as Battlefield who was in charge of gold sale and Grants assistance, a move was not successful. They managed to recruit Grants brother-in-law named Corbin who organized the two to meet the president and pursued him. Starting September 1869, the two speculators started buying the gold in large quantity in the name of Corbin and Butterfield. The treasury was suspicious and knew that Fisk and Gould were up for something and that the federal government should increase its gold sale to stabilize the market. The prices of gold ranged between 160 and 162 on Friday, September 1869 and the Fisk was till buying clamming that he will push it $ 200. Realizing of the existing plot, the treasury secretary discussed with the president. When the Gold room received the news, the prices of the gold fell to $130 within a matter of minutes. As a result, several brokerages went to bankrupt, and the agricultural export fell by over 50 percent 2012 (Brands, 2012).

The Dawes Acts

The Dawes Act of 1887 was adopted by the Congress in 1887 and authorized by the president to break up tribal land through dividing them into individual plots. The native American Indians that accepted the individual allotment were allowed to become the citizens of the united states. The Act aimed at assimilating Native America Indians into typical United States society through annihilating their cultural and social traditions. The American Indians were negatively affected by this Act communal land ownership which ensured that every member of the clan had a place to stay. The Americans wanted to destroy the communal structure to allow the development of the railroad and open land for non-Indians to settle. Between 1887 and 1934, the Indian land decreased from 138 million acres to only 48 million acres. Also, the land in the hand of Native Americans drastically depleted from 155 million acres to 78 million acres by 1900 (Stremlau,2005).

The Native Americans who registered on tribe roll were given an allotment of reservation land. Every family received one-quarter of the section while every individual above the age of eighteen would receive an eighth of the section. An individual below eighteen years got one-sixteenth of the section. The subsequent event, however, prolonged the provision of the Act to some group within Indian territory that were civilized. A commission was formed to negotiate with this tribes. The commission was able to reach an agreement with the tribes to eliminate their tribal government and identify state federal laws. After the Native American Indians were recognized as American citizens, they were beneficiaries of Civil Service Reform Act of 1883 as they held various government positions just like any other American citizens (Stremlau,2005).


HYPERLINK "" \o "H.W. Brands" Brands, H. W. (2012). HYPERLINK "" The Man Who Saved the Union: Ulysses S. Grant in War and Peace. New York: Doubleday

Kens, P. (2009). The Credit Mobilier scandal and the supreme court: corporate power, corporate person, and government control in the midnineteenth century. Journal of Supreme Court History, 34(2), 170-182.

Stremlau, R. (2005). To domesticate and civilize wild Indians: Allotment and the campaign to reform Indian families, 1875-1887. Journal of Family History 30: 265-286.

Ambrose, S. (2001). HYPERLINK "" Nothing like it in the world: The men who built the transcontinental railroad 1863-1869. New York, N.Y.: Simon & Schuster. p. 93

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